I remember my happy days at the college and university where we were allowed, as consenting adults, to engage in much mental masturbation, Marxist dialectics, Weberian wanderings and functionalist fantasies, yes, we were sociologists. Debates flourished on every topic under the sun, free will fought determinism and symbolic interaction ruled the day (for me anyway), and too often obsession with theory and dogma meant reality got suspended from the here and now as everybody got to play fantasy world view super league.

Fast forward many (too many) years and whilst the cold hard realities of life are just cold hard realities, for some this is clearly not so. Training in the martial arts is good for me, I like my training, it has become a major part of my life. Thing is I still work hard to stop fantasy becoming reality. Having spent a few weeks in the company of my friend Rory Miller really helps as does knowing that Marc MacYoung will be here soon, these guys only do real. I have no time for the fantasy stuff. Yesterday we trained hard and training hard does not mean that any fight is easy but constant operant conditioning of the basics hard wires them into the brain.

Two new people joined us yesterday and for them it was all brand new, for some of us there are a lot of miles on the clock but we still train the basics. Being good at the basics is what counts in my old school world. Forget the fancy stuff, go direct, put your opponent down quickly and efficiently, leave style for the stylists, I train people to fight and to win when all the other alternatives have melted away. So when I receive a phone call from somebody wanting to do self defence, from someone who is honest enough to admit they do not know what self defence is, I need to explain, and then they mention the cool knife defences they have seen on Youtube. Yes the pool has been piddled in. I call the conversation to a halt right there, and here is my opinion, the vast majority of knife defences are pure BS. So if you have a favourite disarm you may take exception, cool. I have a Fairbairn Sykes fighting knife, if I decide to cut you or kill you, not that I have the slightest intention of doing so, I will gut you like a fish.

OK, everything works sometimes, but everything fails too, we had a discussion this week where an instructor said that when one of their training partners attacked like a bad guy some techniques were difficult. I enjoyed the points made by some good instructors. My problem was a good guy acting like a bad guy attacking you is still not a bad guy attacking you. Back in the day I was a bad guy, I did not give an opponent a fair start, far from it. In our training I teach people to cheat right from the start, if I come at you with a weapon you will not know until you are recovering, hypothetically of course. If you fight for sport play by the rules, I am not interested in the sport. So I chuckle when I see people doing fancy knife disarms against a ‘bad guy’. I laugh out loud when I watch the silky knife handling skills of the ‘experts’, the flip side is I want to cry when real people get stabbed and die.

Fools with cameras fill the screens of the gullible with stupid knife drills and defences. Well its a free country, as long as they want to play with their toys they will do, trouble is when they start believing their own fantasies. Yes I have faced knives in fights, I once put a bloke down with a 3′ steel scaffold pole for pulling a knife on me, that was long ago in the good old bad old days. If I think you have a knife I am off, escape comes first, next option a very big stick, like my trusty pick axe handle and yes I will cave your skull in if I have to.

So when you see the training knife coming out think carefully, if you things like the stuff in this next clip, leave and do not go back, knife drills and disarms are a form of mental masturbation, its never like the real thing so you might as well go home and play with yourself, you will have more fun.